The Problem With The “Female Boss” Problem

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“I have never seen in my entire career women being as supportive to one another as they are now.”- Deborah Jackson, co-founder of the Women Innovate Mobile accelerator program

By Charlotte Kellogg (Social Media Manager, Appguppy)

When you Google “female boss”, recent write-ups about female bosses from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, MSNBC’s Today Show and AskMen.com pop up, revealing a disturbing trend that has emerged in the way female managers are discussed. Whether it’s the “queen bee” model, the “crazy control freak” model or the “chatty Kathy” type, there seems to be a newfound love for bashing female managers.

As a college grad who recently took the position of Community Manager at Appguppy, a female-founded tech company, I have a hard time connecting my real life experiences working with female managers to any of these perspectives.

In an article on Askmen.com, author Speider Schneider starts off his discussion of the issue by declaring that, “it is still almost impossible for men and women to work together”. He posits that compared to men, female bosses play emotional games and base managerial decisions on personal vendettas.

Isolated incident? Apparently not, according to Dr. Robi Ludwig of MSNBC’s Today Show. In what is being referred to as a "Queen Bee Syndrome", some strong female bosses are being labeled “too cliquey”, “vain” and even “moody”.

However, a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article from contributor Diane Brady offers a glimmer of hope that these stereotypes are being confronted head-on. According to Brady, a study by non-profit group Catalyst found that out of 742 male and female MBA grads, women were not only better at helping others (men included) but that 73% of those female mentors were especially inclined to help other women, while only 30% of men were as willing to help.

Recently I spoke with Jumpthru and Plum Alley founder Deborah Jackson, who confirmed this trend, stating that, “I have never seen in my entire career women being as supportive to one another as they are now.”

AtAppguppy, I work with female managers (and tech entrepreneurs!) on a daily basis. Appguppy is led by sibling female co-founders Anagha Nadkarni and Ashwini Nadkarni, who serve as the CEO and COO respectively. The CTO (and lone man) Raj Dandage, intern Caitlin McGrath and I interact with female management on a daily basis.

Rather than playing games, here is what my experience has been in working for a female-led tech company:

  1. Openness
  2. Mentoring
  3. Personal Concern for My own Career Development

One aspect of working for Appguppy, and with Ash and Anu especially, is a complete open-door policy that allows for better communication and decision making. Our proximity to many great women in technology has allowed for numerous amazing mentorship opportunities.

I’m not sure if this new push for a ‘female super villain’ is playing off the insecurities of men, or a rebellious outcry against the notion of “anything you can do, I can do better” from unsettled male employees. Whatever it is, this misconception that women are control freaks hell-bent on flinging stilettos at unsuspecting men is complete absurdity, and limits our collective ability to make real improvements to the workplace for both men and women.

We, both men and women, have real work to do rather than bicker over stereotypes.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. Photo credit: Victor1558 on Flickr. About the guest blogger: Charlotte Kellogg is the Social Media Manager at Appguppy, a tech startup based out of Boston and New York. She’s a recent graduate of Goucher College, an avid equestrian and a self-proclaimed “nerd” who loves listening to and singing a wide variety of musical styles. When she’s not out practicing for horse shows, you can catch Charlotte juggling all of Appguppy’s social media engagement on Facebook and Twitter and promoting their community on Tumblr.